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Americus Police Department reports lowering crime stats to FBI

The Americus Police Department reported through a press release:

Each month The Americus Police Department reports crime statistics to the FBI along with most of the other law enforcement agencies in the United States.  The FBI makes an annual summary of these statistics available to the public each year in a publication called “Crime in the United States”.  It is available on the FBI’s web site and is usually one year behind, meaning that the report posted at the end of 2020 is based on 2019 numbers.  Fortunately for us, we can access our crime statistics in real time and are able to provide the public with the information as soon as the calendar year ends.  We are pleased to report that our Part I Crime numbers for 2020 continued the downward trend, decreasing by 6% from 2019 and are the lowest they have been in over 30 years.  In fact, the last time our total serious crime count dipped lower was in 1987.  Part I Crimes are the more serious crimes tracked by the FBI and include Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Larceny from an Auto, Larceny Other, Vehicle Theft and Arson.  These are all crimes that are generally reported to the police by the public and are driven by criminal activity, rather than police activity.  These type crimes tend to be fairly constant in a community and are a good indicator of trends in criminal activity.  The city experienced decreases in all of these categories except two, Aggravated Assault and Larceny Other, which showed increases over the numbers reported in 2019.

Crime analysis is a multifaceted process, and though as a police department we would like to take full credit for the reduction in crime, there are many different factors at work.  The COVID 19 pandemic definitely had an impact on the number of cases initiated by police officers such as traffic stops and arrests for minor crimes.  As the pandemic infection rate begins to decrease, our officers will resume their normal patrol and traffic interdiction activities.

When the Americus Times-Recorder contacted the police department, Americus Chief of Police, Mark Scott reports being pleased over the data the research indicates. Chief Scott says local crime has dropped, but it falls in line with a national trend. In having hard  research, Chief Scott reports, “It is good to step back and look objectively over time rather than following Facebook or just seeing what happened last week. People are inundated with social media everyday and have the impression that crime is rampant when it really isn’t.” In trying to understand why the numbers are going down, Chief Scott once again says it is part of a “nationwide trend, the aging of the population and better enforcement.” Scott also reports that cameras and video devices are making a strong impact and are used more frequently than even five years ago. On a local basis, Scott remarks that such technology, even “Ring” doorbells are making an impact on how effective our police department can apprehend an offender.